Kakigori, Japan’s beloved summertime sweet, gets a Blue Bottle makeover.

It’s been six years now since American coffee chain Blue Bottle Coffee opened their first branch in Japan, creating two-hour long queues to get into its shiny new store in Tokyo’s Koto Ward back in 2015.

Since then, the chain has been bringing out some special releases for Japanese customers, including a special pair of vending machines, and now they’re giving us their take on a popular Japanese dessert called kakigori.

Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert that people go mad for in summer here, when the temperatures soar and humidity levels rise, leaving people with a craving for ice-cold relief. The frozen dessert comes in a wide variety of flavours, from fruity to creamy and everything in between, and for Blue Bottle Coffee, the star flavour of their first-ever kakigori is, naturally, coffee. 

▼ Blue Bottle’s kakigori is only being sold at a select number of branches, so we stopped by our nearest one in Tokyo to try the new dessert.

Officially called the “Coffee and Milk Cream Kakigori“, the dessert contains Blue Bottle’s coffee syrup and salted caramel sauce, along with a few other “secret” ingredients. Once we’d placed our order, we took a seat and it only took a few minutes to arrive, looking absolutely glorious in all its icy splendour.

▼ We also ordered a coffee on the side, which in hindsight may’ve been overkill, seeing as the kakigori was totally smothered in coffee syrup.

The huge amount of ice piled up in such a small bowl meant we had to start eating this straight away before it melted into a puddle of coffee on the tray. As soon as we took our first mouthful, though, we realised eating this at speed wasn’t going to be a problem as it was exquisitely made, with the texture of the ice being fluffy and soft, melting on the tongue in an instant, and the combination of coffee and milk creating a wonderfully well-balanced flavour profile that was neither too creamy nor too bitter.

It was like an elegant cafe au lait, and the delectable salty notes from the salted caramel sauce made every mouthful absolutely delicious! The use of nuts on top and candied orange peel pieces throughout was also a top decision, as they provided crunchy textural accents while adding a refreshing sweetness to the dish.

The orange peel pieces were the secret ingredient that really made the dessert so special. Hardly visible throughout the dessert, their presence was noticeable on the tongue, where they combined with the coffee to create an extraordinarily delicious combination.

Another highlight was the remarkably soft, fluffy texture of the ice, which Blue Bottle attributes to the fact that the kakigori was created in collaboration with “Konnyaku Sushi and Shaved Ice KON“, a Tokyo store which uses a custom-made shaved ice machine specially designed for them, creating a unique texture you won’t find anywhere else.

▼ The result is icy clouds of milky coffee melting on the tongue.

The taste changes depending on the part you’re eating, which keeps you eagerly digging out spoonfuls for your taste buds to enjoy over and over again. It’s a treat that’s definitely worth indulging in, but it’s only available for a limited time, from 1 July to 31 August at the chain’s Aoyama, Roppongi, Kyoto Kiyamachi, and Minatomirai branches, priced at 1,296 yen (US$11.73) for takeout and 1,320 for eat-in customers.

Reference: Blue Bottle Coffee
Photos ©SoraNews24

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